A good read…..

December 22, 2011

I picked this up during a recent trip to Chicago. If you’ve visited this blog before you might know that I’m a huge fan of the outdoor goods company Patagonia. This book details the birth and growth of the company and though I’m not quite finished reading it I am confident it will rank high up on my list of “green business” books. If you’re reading this blog then I bet you would enjoy it too.

In the likely event that I don’t post again before Christmas, have a great holiday season and be safe out there.



Sunrise - Shiawassee Flats, St. Charles, MI

Recent grants are providing Ducks Unlimited (DU) and friends with horsepower to enhance wildlife habitat in the Shiawassee Flats and National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR), both near Saginaw, MI. A 141 acre wetland restoration project has already been completed on the Shiawassee Flats and DU recently received $1.5 million to restore emergent wetlands on 940 acres of land currently in agricultural use at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.

I grew up in St.Charles, “Gateway to the Shiawassee Flats”, so this quite literally hits home for me. In fact, the picture on the left was taken in a section of the Shiawassee Flats during a Thanksgiving Day duck hunt a few years back. I spent many hours chasing ducks and deer there and I’m very happy to see these habitat enhancement efforts take place.

SNWR abuts the Shiawassee Flats and is a fantastic destination for bird-watching and hiking, among other things. The refuge recently added a wildlife drive allowing vehicles greater access to view the incredible habitat and species diversity on the 9,400+ acre refuge. SNWR also allows deer hunting through a lottery system and I can tell you through experience that there are many a trophy buck running around those grounds.

Funds were provided through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a federal program designed to target the most significant problems in the Great Lakes ecosystem. Thanks for reading and remember to do your part to keep the woods and waters clean for future generations.



Laserlyte recyclable packaging

Lately I have taken more notice to clamshell packaging. You know, the plastic packaging that is supposed to prevent theft and make products more visible but ends up being crazy frustrating (not to mention dangerous) to open. Yeah, that’s the stuff. Anyway, I handled a lot of clamshell-packaged products through my work at various sporting goods stores in high school and college but clamshell packaging seems to be the norm rather than the exception that it was 10 years ago. No, I can’t back that up with facts.

What I can factually report is that not all clamshell packaging is recyclable and will end up in a landfill for decades. However, companies such as Arizona-based Laserlyte®, are putting a stop to that trend by producing recyclable and generally more environmentally-friendly packaging. I’ll let you read more about it in this press release.

This holiday season take a second to consider the packaging of the gifts you are buying. Is it recyclable? If not, it’s going to end up in a landfill.

Keep up the good work Laserlyte. Your effort to clean up your packaging stream will make it easy for me to look for a Laserlyte product when I add a laser to my Smith & Wesson 637 (Christmas present hint to my awesome wife). Thanks for reading and please do your part to keep the woods and waters clean.


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Eaton County 9 pt

November 20, 2011

A heavy fog was snaking its way through the woods and standing corn near my treestand, making visibility difficult. Deer had usually come from the small woodlot over my right shoulder or the standing corn in front of me. There was very little wind so I had to keep my movements minimal and slow. I panned my head from the woods to the corn and there he stood in the corn, not 50 yards away. The corn was dry and loud when you brushed against it, but despite this the buck made not a sound, he simply appeared.

He stared into the woodlot for what seemed to be a few minutes, not moving a muscle. I strained my eyes trying to discern deer from corn through the swirling fog and rays from the rising sun. The crabclaw on his left antler told me this was the buck I’d been after, but had never seen in the daylight. My sightings thus far were on the trail camera, usually between midnight and 4 a.m. The only time I had seen him in the flesh was at 6:30 p.m. on November 13th. I encountered him on the edge of the cornfield as I was making my way back to my truck after the evening bowhunt. I almost laughed as he bounded away thinking that at least I had seen him in person. Of all the bucks I thought I might see on Opening Day, he was the last.

After staring into the woodlot he took a few steps to his right, my left, and I took that opportunity to slowly move my H & R Ultra Slugger into shooting position. He must have caught my movement because he stopped and stared my way. But it was too late. I had a small opening through the cottonwood branches in front of me and squeezed the trigger as my crosshairs settled onto his left shoulder. He dropped in his tracks, about 40 yards away, at 7:43 a.m.

The slug took him high and broke his spine. It was likely a lethal shot due to the downward angle of the wound channel but out of respect for the animal I got down from my stand, crept up and quickly finished him off with another slug. This is one of my best whitetails to date, not necessarily due to the size of his antlers, but because I had set a goal to shoot a deer older than 1.5 years and had passed several young bucks with my bow. With no venison in the freezer yet those passed opportunities were weighing heavy on my mind that day but were now washed away.

As if I could get any luckier, the farmer was picking the corn later that morning and offered to transport the buck on his tractor north to my truck that was about a half mile away. Sometimes you just get lucky. I hope your season was equally as lucky and gratifying……good luck out there and shoot straight.



Detroit River walleye 4-27-11

Earlier this summer I wrote an article about a very interesting walleye tracking study that is underway on Lakes Huron and Erie. You can read an archived version of the article here and on the official project website.

Studies like these are expensive and hence seldom conducted so it’s neat to see this taking place in the Saginaw Bay system. I plan on touching base with the study directors this fall to see how many walleye were caught by anglers and what the preliminary data are suggesting.



The salmon are in

September 12, 2011

Betsie River chinook 8-26-11

I‘m a little late posting this but the kings are running like crazy right now in northern Michigan streams. My buddy and I had a huge day on the Betsie River a couple weekends ago. We hooked at least 25 kings each and came home with a cooler full of high quality protein and sore shoulders and backs from battling the fresh-run fish.

Before this trip the last time I had salmon fished was in 2005 and on top of that, I had never tangled with a king in the river. So this was an awesome experience and I would highly recommend it to anyone.

Get out there and fish before the leaves fall. You’ll wish you did come January.



CCI makes non-lead .17 HMR ammo

September 10, 2011

CCI non-lead .17 HMR ammo

For all the .17 HMR owners out there, CCI is now loading up some non-lead ammo for you. I have a Savage .17 HMR and shoot Hornady’s out of it but will pick some of these up once I run through the rest of my stash.

Fall is approaching. I’ve had my trail camera out and will try to post some pics soon.




Don’t let the title fool you, The Hog Blog is about much more than hogs. It’s a great resource for outdoors-types and has recently become one of my go-to sites for content related to non-lead ammunition. A recent Hog Blog post informed me to keep an eye out for a new non-lead .17 HMR bullet from Winchester. Check out The Hog Blog. You won’t be disappointed.

Post addendum 3/20/11:

I received the comment below a couple of days ago and thought I’d pass it along as another potential resource for information on non-lead ammunition. Thanks for the comment and compliment LeLand, and keep the information flowing!

“I was just poking around your posts and liked what I saw. You balance conservation and hunting pretty well. I see that you have The Hog Blog as a good site for info on non-lead ammunition and wanted to clue you into a new site we’ve been working on, http://www.huntingwithnonlead.org.

As hunter’s it is difficult to get unbiased information about non-lead bullets. We’ve tried to gather as much information into one place as we could. Stop by and let us know what you think, there is a lot of testing we’ve done to compare lead and non-lead bullets. Also we’ve posted a lot of scientific literature so people can read it and make educated decisions.

Hope to hear from you.”



Tungsten jigs becoming popular

February 20, 2011

Eater gill

The winter 2010/2011 issue of In-Fisherman magazine has a great article about the increasing popularity of tungsten jigs in the professional ice-fishing circuit (maybe not a spectator-friendly sport but I sure wish I had the know how these anglers possess). I was hoping I could find the article on-line and link to it but no dice.

Anyway, if you’re a fan of non-lead hunting loads then you probably know that tungsten is a very hard, dense element, much more dense than lead. The increased density allows you to fish a much smaller jig, surface area-wise. This translates to a quickly sinking jig that gets your bait to deep-water fish much faster than a lead jig. The longer your bait is in the zone near the active fish, the more fish you will catch. Simple as that.

There hasn’t been nearly enough research done on tungsten for me to call it “non-toxic” but at least it’s not lead, which is proven to be toxic to aquatic and terrestrial wildlife.

It appears that anglers have been using tungsten for quite some time and I might be a little late to the tungsten party. Here’s some more articles for you to peruse: Sportsman’s Direct, e-tungsten.com, and it looks like yourbobbersdown.com and bentley-fishing.com are good places to start looking for tungsten jigs to purchase.

I’m admittedly late with this post seeing how we’re nearing the end of ice fishing season and the fish will start moving into the shallows soon but better late than never. And maybe this post will prompt you to add some tungsten jigs to your arsenal for next winter. Bet you can get some on clearance.

Good fishing and please help keep the woods and waters free of trash.



Orvis and Sustainability

February 13, 2011

Photo credit: Orvis.com/sustainability

I was getting ready to add Orvis’s February 2011 catalog to the recycle pile when I spotted the back-cover statement regarding Orvis’s “2020 Vision For Sustainability”. Follow that link and have a look at their sustainability mission. Be sure to click on all the tabs “Vision”, “Energy”, “Paper”, and “Waste”. Very impressive vision, if you ask me.

It’s not necessarily the scope of their stated goals but rather the level of detail and transparency they’ve provided their potential and actual customers. A favorite of mine is: “Identify nonrecyclables and prioritize designing them out“.  I hope we see more hunting/fishing gear companies embrace that goal and strive for elimination of resources that can’t be reused. Sounds simple, but as you can imagine, is not.

Curiously absent from Orvis’s list is anything regarding transitioning their catalogs from paper to electronic form. I’m not suggesting they switch to e-catalogs overnight, but do it gradually, and offer consumers incentives ($5 off orders from e-catalogs, for example) for using e-catalogs. This would decrease their catalog production costs and shipping costs which are no doubt substantial (think Cabela’s, think…).

Anyway, log onto Orvis.com/sustainability and check it out. Congratulations to Orvis for publicly declaring their goals. I applaud your efforts and will support your company because of them. Simple as that.

As always, thanks for reading and let’s keep the woods and waters free of trash.